Peruvian archaeologists recently discovered over 50 new Nasca lines in the Peruvian desert. Scientists found the lines while using drones to survey other locally-known geoglyphs for the first time, National Geographic reported. While the Nasca culture was responsible for some of the lines, the archaeologists also think the earlier Topará and Paracas cultures could have carved others between 500 BC and 200 AD.
Newly found drawings, called Paracas lines and Nasca lines, etched over 1,000 years ago, can be glimpsed in the National Geographic video above. Nasca lines are mostly visible only from overhead, according to National Geographic, while Paracas lines were carved on hillsides, so people in villages below could see them. Many of these drawings show humans.
Co-discoverer, archaeologist Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, told National Geographic, “Most of these figures are warriors. These ones could be spotted from a certain distance, so people had seen them, but over time, they were completely erased.”
Researchers can glean more information on the Paracas culture from the geoglyphs, which reveal people in the area had started experimenting with the sprawling drawings hundreds of years before the well-known Nasca lines that have fascinated people for decades. Peruvian Ministry of Culture archaeologist Johny Isla told National Geographic, “This means that it is a tradition of over a thousand years that precedes the famous geoglyphs of the Nasca culture, which opens the door to new hypotheses about its function and meaning.”
Some of the locally-known lines can now be glimpsed from the skies for the first time. Among the geoglyphs is one showing a tupu, what National Geographic described as a “‘needle-like’ object used to hold pieces of clothing together,” and one showing a flying human “tethered to a monkey.” One of the drawings that is easier to see is a pelican, which is 475 by 108 feet big.
The National Geographic Society provided funding for the project. The drawings are already protected, according to the video, in an UNESCO World Heritage Site.